Florence Fabricant's Braised Lamb Shank Ragu
Bernard Clayton's Honey-Lemon Whole-Wheat Rolls

Birthday Cake


Tuesday night I took one step closer to the inevitable. In the weeks before my birthday, I spent nights awake wondering, "Lady Baltimore or Coconut Chiffon? Italian Meringue Icing or White Chocolate Buttercream?" Because it's much easier to worry about the kind of cake you'll make for your birthday than it is to realize that at 28, you're not at the point you thought you would be when you were a kid looking into the future.

But then I found myself surrounded with my dearest friends, old and new, and my beloved Ben, with a glass (or two, or three?) of champagne in my hand. Around me people were talking and laughing and eating cake; music played in the background and as I sat back for a moment, a sense of pure bliss coursed through me. I thought, life plan or no life plan, I have everything I need.

And the cake, you're wondering? I made Martha Stewart's Inside Out German Chocolate Cake. The cake layers were thick and fudgy like brownies, not as high and fluffy as I had expected. The custardy, crunchy filling was delicious, and the ganache was fruity and smooth (I stuck my finger in both concoctions during preparations to taste). Everyone loved it, but I was too busy drinking champagne and gazing lovingly at the people around me to even have a slice.